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UCLA Football Recruiting Reset: Priming for Recruiting Season - Part 2 - Offense

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Turning to the offensive side of the ball, the recruiting efforts took a big hit this week when 5* receiver Christian Kirk and 4* receiver Tony Brown committed elsewhere. The biggest gripe with last year's class was that it missed on signing a homerun hitting receiver, and so far it does not appear that the issue has been fixed. Considering that the #1 quarterback in the country has committed to our program, one would expect to see elite receivers lining up to play in Westwood.

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Quarterback

Commits: Josh Rosen.

Targets:  None.

Update:  In the past two seasons, UCLA has signed projects Asiantii Woulard and Aaron Sharp.  While both or neither may pan out, the staff hit a homerun in getting a commitment from Josh Rosen.  Rosen is rated as the #1 quarterback in the country by Rivals, Scout, and 247, and will likely challenge Jerry Neuheisel, Woulard, and Sharp for the starting role next season.

Rosen checks in at 6'4 205 lbs.  He's definitely not the caliber of runner of Brett Hundley, or Asiatii Woulard or Aaron Sharp, but he can move a little.  More importantly, he's got a great arm in terms of strength and accuracy.

Running Back

Commits: TJ Simmons; Bolu Olorunfunmi.

Targets: Soso Jamobo.

Update:  UCLA is in a good spot with Paul Perkins returning for his junior season and Nate Starks returning as a sophomore behind him.  After that, there are some question marks.  UCLA signed Craig Lee a couple seasons ago, but after gray shirting, he failed to earn much playing time last season.  Adarius Pickett was given some opportunity at running back in camp, but he was moved back to corner out of necessity, although he may also be an option in the backfield going forward.

In obtaining commitments from Olorunfunmi and Simmons, UCLA has a bit of thunder and lightning.  Olorunfunmi is a bowling ball back out of Fresno, while Simmons is a burner out of Florida.  Simmons suffered a knee injury last season, and has struggled through some injuries this year, but his tape as a sophomore is very good.  They are both solid 3* prospects and would be given time to develop given UCLA's top heavy depth.

UCLA is also in the mix for Soso Jamobo, a consensus top 3 running back out of Texas.  At 6'2 210 lbs., Jamobo certainly looks the part.  He's also a very good receiver, and if he grows much taller, he may end up being better suited for receiver.  He reminds me a lot of Joe Mixon last year; big, strong, shifty, but probably lacking the elite top end speed.  Jamobo has offers from all over the country, and he'll most likely end up as a signing day announcement.

Wide Reciever/Y

Commits:  Alize Jones; L.J. Reed.

Targets: Ryan Newsome; Tony Brown; Equanimeous St. Brown; Trent Irwin; Cordell Broadus; Desean Holmes; Chris Clark.

Update:  UCLA has some solid depth at wide receiver with Jordan Payton and Devin Fuller returning for their senior seasons, Devin Lucien, Kenny Walker, and Jalen Ortiz returning as juniors, and Eldridge Massington and Mossi Johnson returning for their sophomore seasons, as well as last year's trio of Austin Roberts, Alex Van Dyke, and Jordan Lasley all in the mix.  However, Mazzone has shown that his offense requires a lot of bodies here, and he spreads the ball out amongst everyone very well, so there is definitely need and room for more.

To date, the only commitment out of the wide receiver group is L.J. Reed, a big receiver out of Lodi.  At 6'3 200 lbs., Reed is a perfect example of the type of receiver that UCLA has brought in consistently over the past few seasons; big and strong with good straight away speed.  Of the remaining receivers, St. Brown, Broadus, and Irwin are all of the same mold.

The remaining group consisting of Ryan Newsome, Tony Brown, and Desean Holmes fit more of the slot type role.  Newsome out of Texas and Holmes out of Mission Hills have similar skillsets, and would fit in the offense nicely, but they are a notch below former target Christian Kirk, who recently committed to Texas A&M.

Tony Brown recently committed to Texas Tech, but I still list him here because he is scheduled to take a visit to UCLA in January.  Brown is a little bigger at 6'0 190, and reminds me of Mossi Johnson.  He might grow into an outside receiver, but he can start as a slot receiver and could prove to be a very strong pick up.  Of the group, I think UCLA's best chances are with Brown, and I could see them taking one more big receiver if one was ready to commit.

At Y, UCLA received an early commitment from Alize Jones, the #2 tight end in the country out of Bishop Gorman, but there is still work to be done in keeping him.  Notre Dame is making a hard charge for him.  Jones would be a perfect fit behind Duarte and would bring in much of the same in terms of receiving ability.  In addition to Jones, UCLA is also in the mix for Chris Clark, the nation's #1 tight end who recently decommitted from Michigan.  Clark recently indicated that he's interest in 5 schools, with UCLA making the cut, but Jones is really the better fit for Mazzone's offense.

Offensive Line

Commits:  T Zach Bateman; T Andre James; G Tevita Halalilo; G/C Fred Ulu-Perry.

Targets:  G Josh Wariboko; G Semisi Uluave.

Update:  There's no way of sugar coating the results; the offensive line has not gotten the job done over the past two seasons, specifically in pass protection.  In fairness, the line has suffered some unfortunate injuries and departures, but bringing in a talented class is an absolute must this season.  Klemm has shown to be capable in that regard.

The list of commits thus far is a very impressive group.  All are highly recruited 4* recruits that should push the starters immediately.  Zach Bateman is a massive 6'7 320 lbs. JUCO tackle that could step in and play next season.  Andre James is a little undersized at 6'5 280 lbs., but he projects as a good run blocking RT.  Tevita Halalilo fits as strong run blocking guard, tipping the scales at 6'4 340 lbs., and Fred Ulu-Perry is perfectly sized for center at 6'2 295 lbs.

UCLA would also take one of Josh Wariboko out of Oklahoma or Semisi Uluave out of Hawaii.  Wariboko is a little smaller at 6'3 305 lbs. compared to Uluave, who weighs in at 6'5 320 lbs.  Uluave has fallen in the rankings this season for whatever reason, but UCLA faces stiff competition from all over the country for both of these prospects.

Athlete

Commits: Stephen Johnson III; Octavius Spencer.

Targets: Deandre McNeal.

Update: I list Stephen Johnson and Octavius Spencer as athletes because they are both highly regarded at CB and WR and could end up at either spot.  Johnson has the size at 5'11 188 lbs. and speed to fit in as the explosive slot receiver that has eluded our offense, but he plays QB in high school and his position won't be determined until camp.  Spencer is a tad smaller at 5'11 175 lbs., but he plays wide receiver and defensive back at Monrovia.

McNeal is a teammate of OLB target Malik Jefferson out of Texas, and at 6'2 210 lbs., he's a different sort of athlete than Johnson or Spencer.  McNeal could play LB, S, RB, or WR, and he would be a huge pickup for our program.

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If you have any thoughts, comments, and/or additions, fire away.  We are entering the silly season of recruiting.  Enjoy!

Go Bruins.